Sunday, October 19, 2014

Human Rights Campaign Endorses PrEP

Via the Associated Press:
The largest U.S. gay-rights organization Saturday endorsed efforts to promote the use of a once-a-day pill to prevent HIV infection and called on insurers to provide more generous coverage of the drug. Some doctors have been reluctant to prescribe the drug, Truvada, on the premise that it might encourage high-risk, unprotected sexual behavior. However, its preventive use has been endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and many HIV/AIDS advocacy groups

The Human Rights Campaign, which recently has been focusing its gay-rights advocacy on same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination issues, joined those ranks with the release of a policy paper strongly supporting the preventive use of Truvada. It depicted the drug as "a critically important tool" in combatting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. "HRC does not take this position lightly," the policy paper said. "We recognize there is still ongoing debate ... and that there are those out there who will disagree with our stance."
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation denounced HRC's move and said that it plans to expand its anti-PrEP media campaign.

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KANSAS: Gov. Sam Brownback Leads Rally Against Same-Sex Marriage

Via the Kansas NBC affiliate:
Governor Sam Brownback spoke out against same-sex marriage at a rally on the east side of Wichita. The Whistle Bus Stop Tour rally this morning brought dozens of speakers out, all of which oppose same-sex marriage in Kansas. The rally was also met by opposition of those who feel Kansas needs to get on-board with many other states in the country and allow same-sex couples the same liberties. More than one hundred people packed the Summit Church parking lot this morning to take a stance on same-sex marriage. Those in the crowd are hopeful an amendment they voted for in 2005, stating that marriage shall be constituted by one man and one woman only, will hold up. It’s a sentiment that Gov. Brownback echoed. “70-percent of Kansans voted to put in your constitution that marriage is the definition of a man and a woman,” said Gov. Brownback. Other state officials took to the podium, delivering a message that could soon become reality. “If we lose the battle you will have to accept the view that marriage can be anything three judges say it is,” said U.S. representative Tim Huelskamp.

(Tipped by JMG reader Matthew)

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Media Matters: Right Wing Ebola Hysteria

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IDAHO: Hate Group Sues City For Right To Discriminate Against Gay Couples

Remember the Idaho wedding chapel that said it would close before it would ever serve gay couples? Now that same-sex marriage is legal in that state, the owners have changed their minds and decided to sue the town of Coeur d’Alene in order to again make it legal to discriminate against LGBT Americans. The owners are being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom. News of the lawsuit comes, unsurprisingly, from Todd Starnes.
“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco said. “The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected just as the First Amendment intended.” Alliance Defending Freedom also filed a temporary restraining order to stop the city from enforcing the ordinance. “The Knapps are in fear that if they exercise their First Amendment rights they will be cited, prosecuted and sent to jail,” Tedesco told me.

It’s hard to believe this could happen in the United States. But as the lawsuit states, the elderly couple is in a “constant state of fear that they may have to go to jail, pay substantial fines, or both, resulting in them losing the business that God has called them to operate and which they have faithfully operated for 25 years.” The lawsuit comes the same week that the city of Houston issued subpoenas demanding that five Christian pastors turn over sermons dealing with homosexuality and gender identity. What in heaven’s name is happening to our country, folks. I was under the assumption that churches and pastors would not be impacted by same-sex marriage. “The other side insisted this would never happen – that pastors would not have to perform same-sex marriages,” Tedesco told me. “The reality is – it’s already happening.

Last year Coeur d’Alene adopted a public accommodations ordinance that protects LGBT residents from discrimination. The town's bill exempts religious entities, but the Hitching Post also performs civil ceremonies.

RELATED: While no public accommodation protections exist statewide in Idaho, the towns of Boise, Sandpoint, Ketchum, Moscow, and Pocatello have similar laws to Coeur d'Alene.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

NEVADA: Several Las Vegas Wedding Chapels Won't Marry Same-Sex Couples

Via the Las Vegas CBS affiliate:
After making calls to about 15 wedding chapels, 8 News NOW found that several of them refused to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. The Elvis Wedding Chapel, which welcomes traditional and Elvis-themed weddings, said they wouldn't marry same-sex couples. However, when the 8 News Now cameras were rolling as we tried to get their stance on camera, they refused to open the door. "I'm not going to tell you,” David with the Elvis Wedding Chapel said, "It just -- there is no story here.”

Dolly Deleon, the owner of the Vegas Wed Chapel, said she's a born-again believer in Jesus. "My faith won't allow me," Deleon said. She said she's been asked to wed same-sex couples before, but has found that mostly people accept it when she says no. She did not know that a couple who is turned away based on race, sex, or sexual orientation could file charges against her. That could then lead to a misdemeanor arrest. "I would be a hypocrite if I said I'm a Bible-believing person and yet I would perform marriage that believe is solely against God's law,” Deleon said.
So far it doesn't appear that any of these businesses have actually turned away a gay couple.

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Today In Crazyland

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Headline Of The Day

This is the guy who said that it was "evil" to introduce kids to their gay relatives. Details.

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ARKANSAS: Federal Court Denies State's Request To Delay Marriage Case

Via the Associated Press:
A federal judge has denied Arkansas’ request to delay proceedings in a lawsuit challenging the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.  Attorney General Dustin McDaniel earlier this year asked the court to put the case on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case involving Utah’s gay marriage ban. Last week, the high court declined to consider appeals in that case and four others. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker rejected McDaniel’s request as moot.
Back in May a state judge struck down the Arkansas ban and over 500 couples received marriage licenses before a stay was issued by the state Supreme Court one week later.

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Vandals Deflate Paris Butt Plug

Via the Independent:
A giant inflatable ‘Christmas tree’ appears to have been vandalised overnight on Friday, hours after its creator admitted being partly inspired by a joke about an anal sex toy. The controversial piece entitled ‘Tree’ by US artist Paul McCarthy was erected over the Place Vendome in Paris as part of the FIAC international art festival. Its 80ft high presence immediately drew outcry from some residents, who said Paris had been “humiliated” by the installation. Others dismissed the sculpture as a "provocation" and called for its removal.
The artist says the piece will be re-inflated. (Tipped by JMG reader Buxton)

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ITALY: Mayor Of Rome Registers Sixteen Foreign Same-Sex Marriages

Via Bloomberg:
Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino today defied Italian law by transcribing 16 same-sex marriages that were celebrated abroad onto city hall registers. “Today is a special day that I hope will soon become a normal day,” Marino posted on his social media account along with pictures of himself wearing the mayor’s sash, posing with the smiling couples and their families inside Rome’s city hall. “How can you not call this love?” he asked in another post. The move is controversial for a country that does not recognize same-sex unions of any kind. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano immediately responded through his own social media account, saying the mayor’s transcriptions weren’t valid. “According to Italian law, this is not possible,” Alfano posted. “Marino’s signature can’t be a substitute for the law, all he did was give these very respectable couples his autograph.”

(Tipped by JMG reader Andrea)

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HomoQuotable - Matt Stolhandske

"As a gay man, I should hate Melissa and Aaron Klein. They’re the Portland-based Christian bakery owners who, in 2013, refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding. And despite their insistence that they’re only morally opposed to gay marriage, not gays, they make their disdain for equality quite clear: 'I didn’t want to be a part of her marriage, which I think is wrong,' Aaron Klein recently said of one of the women he rebuked. I’m also an evangelical Christian. I can’t understand why Klein or any other Christians twist the words of Jesus Christ to justify this behavior. To me, it’s a deeply harmful and embarrassing bastardization of our faith. But I don’t hate the Kleins. In fact, I’m raising money to cover the $150,000 punitive fine they received from Oregon. [snip] To them I say: this is what an olive branch looks like. I am not rewarding their behavior, but rather loving them in spite of it. It is time for these two communities, which both cite genuine love as our motivation, to put aside our prejudices and put down our pitchforks to clear the path for progress." - Matt Stolhandske, writing for the Washington Post.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

WYOMING: Governor Will Not Appeal, Marriages To Commence By Friday

"This result is contrary to my personal beliefs and those of many others. As in all matters, I respect the role of the courts and the ruling of the Court. While this is not the result I and others would have hoped, I recognize people have different points of view and I hope all citizens agree, we are bound by the law." - Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, in a statement announcing that he will not appeal today's ruling. That notice will be delivered to the court "no later than Thursday, October 23, 2014, at 5:00 p.m." - which is when the stay expires. Wyoming has no waiting period to marry. Done and done.

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Wyoming And Florida: Cerulean Sisters

Cerulean is gayer than cyan. Because Miranda Priestly.

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BREAKING: Federal Judge Strikes Down Wyoming Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Can you STAND IT? I guess he didn't feel like waiting until Monday. Equality Case Files has the ruling, so dig in.

UPDATE: From the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Today, U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of the District of Wyoming ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in the challenge to the State of Wyoming’s ban on marriage equality. The court’s order granted a request by four same-sex couples and Wyoming Equality, who had filed a federal lawsuit challenging Wyoming’s marriage ban, for an order requiring the state to allow couples to begin marrying immediately.

Citing two decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit striking down Utah’s and Oklahoma’s bans on marriage for same-sex couples, Judge Skavdahl ruled that Wyoming’s refusal to permit same-sex couples to marry is unconstitutional. Judge Skavdahl ordered the state to begin issuing marriage licenses, but placed that order temporarily on hold to permit Wyoming state officials to appeal his ruling. Marriages will begin in Wyoming at 5:00 pm on Thursday, October 23, or as soon as the state officials defending the challenge inform the court that they do not intend to appeal, whichever is sooner.

The four couples and Wyoming Equality are represented by Cheyenne attorney Tracy Zubrod, the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, the law firm of Rathod Mohamedbahi LLC, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

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Celebrations In Arizona!

Grab a tissue, monkeys.

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Alaska Rejoins The Sapphire States

Sapphire is much gayer than royal blue, doncha think?

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SCOTUS Denies Alaska Stay Demand

And that makes state #31! Via Equality Case Files.

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Meet Ms. Equality Case Files

As I've said here before, over the last few years JMG has increasingly become a de facto collaborative community blog. Sure, I write all the posts, but much of the content here is driven by your emailed, tweeted, and Facebook'd tips - without which this here website thingy wouldn't be nearly so fast to report the latest developments. Recently a friend was watching me work and seeing the tips roll in, he commented about my "army of boots on the ground." I loathe that expression, so I quickly advised him that the preferred term around here is "flying monkeys." And with that, it's long overdue that I introduce you to Kathleen Perrin, the activist behind Equality Case Files, our virtually instantaneous source to this avalanche of pro-gay rulings. Say hello to one of our best flyers!

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ARIZONA: First Couple Marries!

Via HRC Arizona: "Arizona's 1st recognized same-sex marriage of the day! Congrats Karen & Nelda Majors!" More from Why Marriage Matters Arizona:
Karen and Nelda, a couple living in Scottsdale, AZ, met, as many couples do, during their early years of college, 55 years ago. Nelda was a sophomore, Karen was a freshman, and the two women lived just in the same dorm, just down the hall from each other at Sam Houston University in Huntsville, Texas. They became fast friends. Though the women relished their newfound friendship, both knew that their connection might mean something more. Karen and Nelda evolved from being best friends to a couple about 6 months after they met. “I came back from spring break and told Nelda I loved her.” Karen gushed, “It was all so new and amazing for me.”
(Tipped by JMG reader Chris)

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Tweet Of The Day - Meghan McCain

(Via JMG reader Sam)

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ARIZONA: AG Tom Horne Will NOT Appeal

Via Arizona Central:
Arizona same-sex couples can begin marrying immediately, after Attorney General Tom Horne announced this morning he will not appeal the court ruling striking down Arizona's marriage restriction. Horne said legal ethics dictated he drop any appeal of the 9th Circuit court's ruling. Horne has issued a letter instructing county clerks to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately. "Effective immediately, the clerks of Arizona county superior courts cannot deny a marriage license to any otherwise eligible licensees on the grounds that the license permits a marriage between persons of the same sex," Horne wrote in his letter. County clerks are expected to be at various stages of readiness for couples who have been anticipating the ruling.

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Gov. Jan Brewer Has The Arizona Sadz

"In 2008, Arizona voters approved a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Now, with their rulings, the federal courts have again thwarted the will of the people and further eroded the authority of states to regulate and uphold our laws.

"It is not only disappointing, but also deeply troubling, that unelected federal judges can dictate the laws of individual states, create rights based on their personal policy preferences and supplant the will of the people in an area traditionally left to the states for more than two hundred years.

"As Justice Scalia opined, such action is tantamount to 'an ssertion of judicial supremacy over the people’ and is an image of the judiciary 'that would have be en unrecognizable to those who wrote and ratified our national charter.' Simply put, courts should not be in the business of making and changing laws based on their personal agendas.

"It is not the role of the judiciary to determine that same-sex marriages should be allowed. Historically and traditionally, that power belongs to the states, and to the people. If society wants to recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions, that decision should be made through our elected representatives or at the ballot – not the courts." - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, via press release.

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HOUSTON: Ted Cruz Joins Area Pastors In Denouncing Mayor Annise Parker

Video by the Family Research Council. Of course. Remember, all of this hysteria comes from the Christianist battle to repeal Houston's LGBT rights ordinance - local legislation that exists in similar form in more than one hundred major US cities and municipalities.

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This Week's TIME Magazine

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Houston Refiles Subpoenas

This won't lessen the screaming, of course.

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Local Haters Have The Arizona Sadz

"I am heartbroken for a country and a state that has had the redefinition of marriage forced upon them by an out of control federal judiciary. In what amounts to the de-facto Roe v Wade of marriage, voters throughout the nation have watched their voices be silenced, and their votes voided. Now, Arizona’s marriage amendment and our voters are the latest victims. While the United States Supreme Court may still take up the issue of marriage redefinition, for now the courts have settled the issue in our state. Today, we grieve. We grieve for the children who now have no chance of growing up with a mom and a dad. We mourn the loss of a culture and its ethical foundation. We mourn a culture that continues to turn its back on timeless principles. But we do not despair. We do not throw in the towel. We do not give up. Just as we have worked to build a culture of life, we will focus on rebuilding a culture of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”- Cathi Herrod, head of the Center For Arizona Policy, the group behind that state's attempt to legalize anti-LGBT discrimination.

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From The National Democratic Party

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Arizona Joins The Map Of Equality States

As there is no stay in this morning's ruling, the Wikipedia folks immediately updated their map. Notice, however, that Alaska has retreated to light blue. Now we wait to see what the Arizona attorney general and SCOTUS will do.

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BREAKING: Federal Court Strikes Down Arizona Marriage Ban, NO STAY ISSUED

Via Buzzfeed:
Arizona’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Friday. U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick struck down the state’s ban based on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision striking down Idaho and Nevada’s similar bans. Additionally, he refused to grant a stay of his opinion, meaning the decision goes into effect immediately.
UPDATE: Freedom To Marry reacts:
The case, Connolly v. Jeanes ,was filed by private counsel on behalf of several same-sex couples. A separate case, Majors v. Horne, has also been working its way through the courts this year, led by Lambda Legal. In the Connolly case, several of the couples, including Terry Pochert & Joe Connolly and Mason Hite & Christopher Devine, married legally in California, while various other families await the day that they can marry in Arizona. The ruling today strikes down Arizona’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. It comes just over a week after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit's decision in two other cases out of Idaho and Nevada affirming the freedom to marry.
Read the full ruling.

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Sixth Circuit Court Remains Quiet

Another week has passed without a peep from the Sixth Circuit, from whom we await a ruling on the cases that would bring marriage equality to Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Some are wondering if the continued silence is due to opinions being rewritten in the light of SCOTUS declining to consider the cases out of the Fourth and Tenth.

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Obama Names Ebola Czar

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Headline Of The Day


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MRF - Trying

Lovely soulful jazz. With musclebears. The bear keyboardist is Mike "MRF" Flanagan, the title artist. His current release, Mob Music, recently topped the iTunes jazz chart and is streaming in full on Spotify. Flanagan is quoted in the press materials:
"This is the most personal song (and favorite) I've ever written, so I wanted the video to be the same. It was also really important to me to give visibility to the bear community in a jazz/urban/mainstream song and in a light that captures the love and relationship side as well as the heartbreak/breakup side. I've never seen a video that depicts a breakup with bears in the narrative. My goal was to embody the beauty of the normal parts of a relationship; intimacy and day-to-day and what "trying" to grieve that feels like visually and musically. My mission is for this story to reach as many people as possible and hopefully open the eyes of many who have never seen or thought about this kind of narrative."

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ALASKA: What Will Happen Today?

On Wednesday the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals issued a temporary stay on marriages in Alaska, which were to have begun yesterday. Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell yesterday filed an emergency stay request with SCOTUS. The Ninth Circuit's stay automatically dissolves at noon, Pacific time. If SCOTUS does nothing or denies the stay request, marriages can commence this afternoon. At least, that's where things appear to stand at this writing. At least two Alaska couples have already married due to clerks waiving the three-day waiting period.

UPDATE: JMG reader Baltimatt points out that today is Alaska Day, a state holiday. With government offices closed, it could be that gay couples will be out of luck today even if the stay ends. Alaska Day marks the 1867 anniversary of Alaska leaving Russia.

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FLORIDA: Attorney General Pam Bondi Leads By Ten Points In New Poll

Via the Tampa Bay Times:
From her unwavering defense of Florida's ban on gay marriage to her outspoken opposition to the Affordable Care Act, Attorney General Pam Bondi is known for setting off critics. Throw in last year's postponement of an execution so she could host a fundraiser, and an election upset of Bondi seemed possible to some. But a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll shows the 48-year-old Republican incumbent cruising to re-election with a solid lead over Democrat George Sheldon and Libertarian nominee Bill Wohlsifer. The telephone survey of likely voters shows 41 percent supporting Bondi, 31 percent supporting Sheldon, 6 percent supporting Wohlsifer and 16 percent undecided.
Here's Bondi's last ad.

(Tipped by JMG reader Joel)

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CANADA: Funeral Home Cancels Porno Pete And Bill Whatcott's Hate Meeting

Peter Labarbera is due back in Saskatchewan on October 30th to stand trial with former gay prostitute Bill Whatcott on the "mischief" charges that won them an overnight stay in the can earlier this year. And since there was no reason to waste a trip, he and Whatcott decided to hold an anti-gay conference while Labarbera's in town. But tragically, the host venue, a funeral parlor, has cancelled on them.
Bill Whatcott planned to hold a conference at Lee Funeral Home in Regina on Oct. 28 to discuss Christian views of sexuality. But after learning more about the conference, Greg Kulak, general manager of the funeral home, decided it would not be happening. "They will not be using our facility," said Kulak. "This doesn't lend with our core values." Kulak explained Wednesday he was under the impression that the event was a part of bimonthly meetings held by the St. Pius X Catholic Church. "I thought it was basically Latin mass." Kulak received calls about the conference from concerned residents who received a flyer in the mail advertising the event. The conference. Bringing the Light of Christ to Our Culture. was to feature Peter LaBarbera, president of the U.S.-based Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.
Whatcott is furious: "I am looking for (an) alternative venue. And, ultimately, I'll just trust God. If I get a place, I'll get it. And if I don't get it, it'll be on Lee's sidewalk. We'll just hold the conference there or in his parking lot and he can arrest us and take us out." 

Uh, "take us out"?

Lee Funeral Home wasn't the only business to give Whatcott a smackdown this week. Several days ago he filed a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission because the Regina Leader-Post wouldn't run his ad for the hate conference.
I had my lawyer Tom Schuck review it to insure it violated no human rights or libel code. As far as Tom was concerned the Leader Post was able to run this ad without fear of retribution from any government agency. Anyways, upon receiving the rejection e-mail, I promptly got to work printing 5,000 flyers adverting the conference. I drove to Regina this evening with my box full of flyers and got to work going door to door advertising this intellectually stimulating and inspirational conference. I will likely be in Regina all week delivering the 5,000 flyers door to door. If there are any volunteers who would like to do door to door with me letting the public know this conference is open and that everyone has an opportunity to challenge their assumptions and learn, please give me a call or send me an e-mail! I got out 250 flyers tonight and have 4750 more to go!
That commission is quite familiar with Whatcott, having convicted him in 2005 of "inciting hatred against homosexuals." That ruling was upheld by the Canada Supreme Court last year.

RELATED: Two months ago Whatcott and a group of fellow crackpots marched in the Vancouver Pride parade by pretending to be a local Flying Spaghetti Monster group. Whatcott's group handed out fake condoms that actually contained anti-gay screeds.

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Liberace On His Outfits

Slate recaps this newly-animated interview posted by PBS:
Liberace explains his kitschy sartorial choices to journalist Jay Kent Hackleman in the summer of 1968. The conversation, which crackles with a kind of adversarial energy from the start, is telling: The interviewer’s initial annunciation of “garb” is soaked in knowing hostility, and Liberace immediately defends his super-gay style in terms of currents in men’s fashion: “The male peacock is beginning to show his true plumage.” Indeed. By the end, Liberace’s determination to contextualize his campy, effeminate clothes in any terms other than homosexuality leads to a rather bizarre discussion of social welfare programs and the moral value of the entertainer in society. The snippet is a fascinating look inside the closet (both kinds) of the man, and one that proves Liberace was as talented a rhetorician as he was a piano player.

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NORTH CAROLINA: Magistrate Resigns Rather Than Marry Gay Couples

Via the Winston-Salem Journal:
A Rockingham County magistrate submitted his resignation Thursday, saying he couldn’t marry same-sex couples because it violates his religious beliefs. Magistrate John Kallam Jr. sent a letter to Chief District Court Judge Fred Wilkins and said he couldn’t fulfill his oath of office after same-sex marriage became legal in North Carolina. His resignation is effective Oct. 31. “When I took my oath of office, I understood I would be required to perform weddings and have done so throughout my tenure,” Kallam said in an emailed resignation letter. “I did not, however, take that oath with any understanding that I would be required to marry same sex couples. It is my personal belief and a position of my Christian faith that doing so would desecrate a holy institution established by God himself.” Kallam could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
Kallam is not the same asshat that turned away a gay couple earlier this week.

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Rick Scott Does Fangate Damage Control

Scott is beyond ridiculous.

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Liza With A Tree

Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS has issued this year's fundraising holiday ornament.
The zeventh ornament in our Broadway Legends ornament series—yes, that’s seventh with a “z”—is the beloved Broadway superstar Liza Minnelli! Draped in a sexy red sequined outfit, our Liza conjures up her signature 1970s Halston look when she won her second Tony Award® for The Act. With the “City Lights” of New York as her back-drop and her hand placed confidently on her hip, our glittery Liza will be the star of your holiday season. The 6” tall glass ornament was designed exclusively for BC/EFA by artist Glen Hanson with the Christopher Radko Company.
Ms. Minnelli reacts: "I'm simply delighted and so honored to be immortalized with such a wonderfully crafted ornament. I'm especially proud to help support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, an organization that has been very dear to my heart for more than two decades." Still available are the Julie Andrews and Gwen Verdon ornaments from previous years.

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